The Kansas City Missouri Temple is one where history hangs palpably about it. Western Missouri was a scene of great revelation and the refining of new members who were willing to sacrifice all things for the gospel they loved.
A hint of light begins to touch the sky. Some asked why a temple built in western Missouri wasn't in Independence where Joseph prophesied a temple would be. People in the area say you can't miss seeing this temple because it is by the freeway. This location was chosen because of its ease of access for Latter-day Saints who live in the area.
Just as "Holiness to the Lord" is engraved on every temple, so those same words should be engraved upon our souls.
The Kansas City Missouri Temple became the 137th temple of the Church to be dedicated. More than two dozen others have been announced and are in same phase of construction including temples in Rome and Paris. Annette Argyle, who lives just eight minutes from the temple, said she was so excited and screaming with joy when she heard a temple was coming to Kansas City, that she didn't hear the announcement about the Rome temple made at the same time.
Plans for the temple in Kansas City were first announced by the First Presidency on 4 Oct. 2008. Construction began with a formal ground breaking on 8 May 2010 where Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Presidency of the Quorums of the Seventy presided.
The exterior facade of the temple is of pre-cast white concrete and is a traditional design.
The temple stands on slightly more than 8 acres and is 32,000 square feet.
Elder William R. Walker said that one of the moments that touched the crowd who came through the open house was in the video when Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said emotionally, that when he thinks of heaven, it wouldn't be heaven to him without his wife and children.
President Monson has announced plans to build 29 temples since he became the prophet on February 3, 2008.
A morning glow begins to touch the front of the temple that stands out against the gray behind it.
The interior of the temple is as beautiful as this exterior. Particularly fitting, given the Mormon history in Missouri is the dominant motif throughout the temple, which is the olive branch, a symbol of peace. The Church very markedly has not emphasized the harsh treatment given its members in the 19th century, but looked at this new temple as an opportunity to move on and press forward with positive feelings. Few of the Mormon Missourians who grew up here reported that today much division remains and the press kit given the media spells out that Latter-day Saints lived here, first in Jackson and then in other counties, but does not specify why they had to leave.
The olive branch is a theme in the art glass throughout the temple, which was crafted by
Tom Holdman and John Quist. The olive branch can also be found in the decorative painting in the temple, the gold leafing, in the bronze railing details and in the intricate carpet sculpting.
Just as the temple wall is painted with gold in the morning light, so the interior is touched with gold, greens and earth tones.
In the interior of the temple, the primary flooring is Champagne gold limestone from Mexico. The accent stone is Kashmir Gold Granite from India and Inca Gold Limestone from Pakistan. As the public toured the temple, they were, of course, struck by the beauty of the temple, but even more by the feeling within. Guides were taught that what they said was important, but what people would carry away was not their words, but the feeling of the place.
In the scriptures, mountains are often temples where prophets go to speak to the Lord face to face. It is beautiful that we must lift our eyes to contemplate the temple and that temples elevate us by inviting us to arise and look up.
Most Latter-day Saint temples face east toward the rising sun, and the Kansas City Missouri Temple is no exception. On the top of that east tower is Moroni, a reminder of the angel bringing the everlasting gospel in the last days. The height to the top of the east tower is 139 with a 12' gilded angel Moroni statue, bringing the total to height to 151'.
On the north and the south facade of the temple are three courses of twelve windows each.
Inside the temple the majority of the interior dark wood is quarter-figured natural anigre from East and West Africa. The lighter wood is riff-cut and quarter sawn white oak. Particularly touching to Mormons in Missouri who know their history is the wood used for the recommend desk. It is oak drawn from Adam-ondi-Ahman.
The massive entrance to the temple which was an open door for guests just a week ago is now only open to recommend holders who have dedicated themselves to living their lives as disciples of Jesus Christ.
Many who came to the open house assumed that the temple would be like a cathedral with a vast, towering hall inside. Instead they found many small rooms with the chapel itself being only a few small pews. Guides explained that the temple is a place for intense, private worship and that this is not a secret place--but to Latter-day Saints a very sacred one.
Cascading flowers seem to be joyful to be growing in the garden of the Lord on the temple lot.
Rachel Sanford who guided many people through the temple noted that at first some seemed a little tense as if they weren't quite sure what they thought about the Latter-day Saints. Yet, as they continued on the tour, she could visibly see them relax. Their faces and shoulders relaxed and peace permeated them. She said it was a visible transformation with some people.
Many wondered if Joseph Smith and many others would be unseen visitors at the temple dedication. Western Missouri is a place of many prophecies and much hope for a glorious future. Surely Joseph knew when they were driven from the state, that the Latter-day Saints would be back again in Missouri.
First light begins to touch the temple in earnest by the time this shot was taken.
When the dawn reflects off the temple windows, it appears to be glowing from within.
It has become the custom with each new temple to have the interior murals in the endowment rooms reflect the landscape of their surroundings. Olathe, Missouri resident and Latter-day Saint, Michael Albrechtsen, a nationally renowned landscape and figure painter, tackled the monumental task of painting a mural consisting of a three-sided panel that measures 10 feet by 72 feet for the endowment room.
The scope of the project required construction of a special "studio" in a Lenexa warehouse which was essentially a mock-up of the room in the temple where the finished mural hangs. Because of the size of the mural and the detail required, Albrechtsen painted full-time from 8 a.m. to 10: p.m. six days a week for five months.
Albrechtsen initially sketched the design, which reflects the wildlife and landscape of northwest Missouri, and later painted a small model, which measured about 2x3 feet. He then took a photograph of the model, enlarged it onto a grid pattern with 3x3 foot squares, and used a computer to project the image onto the canvas, which was stretched on to wooden supports in the studio.
After marking the canvas with the oil paints on the grid lines, he was able to draw in rough outlines of important elements such as a pond, river, trees, the horizon and clouds with crayons made of charcoal wax. The original painting was eventually enlarged using a scale of 1 inch to 1 foot.
Elder Walker said that Albrechtsen was so able to capture the look and feel of this area that when Governor Jeremiah (Jay) Nixon of Missouri came into the room during the open house, he said he could easily tell that this was a portrait of his state. An hour later Kansas Governor Sam Brownback was on a tour and commented that he was grateful to see a mural of Kansas!
All living things feel peace on the temple grounds.
The olive branch motif is reflected on the walls of the temple as well as the interior.
"Learn of me and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me" D&C 19:23
Another view of the olive branch motif on the temple exterior. "The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace" (Numbers 6:26).
Those who enter the temple, intent to worship, leave the cares and noise of the world behind and find peace. The olive branch motif marks the temple walls.
The first Latter-day Saints to come to Missouri were four missionaries sent by Joseph Smith to preach to the Indians six months after the Church was formed in 1830. Their names are familiar to us: Peter Whitmer Jr. Oliver Cowdery, Parley P. Pratt and Ziba Peterson. This mission would mark the history of the Church forever. On their way through Kirtland, they met a preacher named Sidney Rigdon who let them preach to his congregation.
Joseph Smith arrived in western Missouri in July 1831 and designated the area as Zion, a special place of gathering for the Latter-day Saints. Zion became a place of yearning for all Latter-day Saints everywhere. Within a short time thousands of followers arrived in western Missouri eager to fulfill that dream. They worked to clear land, plant crops and build homes.
Parley P. Pratt said of those early times in Missouri: "It was now the summer of 1833. Immigration had poured into the County of Jackson in great numbers; and the Church in that county now numbered upwards of one thousand souls. These had all purchased lands and paid for them, and most of them were improving in buildings and in cultivation. Peace and plenty had crowned their labors, and the wilderness became a fruitful field, and the solitary place began to bud and blossom as the rose."
Parley continued, "They lived in peace and quiet; no lawsuits with each other or with the world; few or no debts were contracted; few promises broken; there were no thieves, robbers, or murderers; few or no idlers; all seemed to worship God with a ready heart. On Sundays the people assembled to preach, pray, sing, and receive the ordinances of God. Other days all seemed busy in the various pursuits of industry. In short, there has seldom, if ever, been a happier people upon the earth than the Church of the Saints now were." A cornerstone was laid for a temple in Independence.
Still there was a warning in the air, an uneasy current. Through the Prophet Joseph, residing in Kirtland, the Lord said, "Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation. For after much tribulation come the blessings." (D&C 58:3-4.) Could tribulation be coming to these fruitful fields?
During the summer of 1833, hundreds of Missourians circulated a "secret constitution" denouncing the Mormons. In July, about five hundred Missourians gathered at the Independence courthouse to draft a document outlining their demands and to issue a bitter ultimatum that no Latter-day Saints would be allowed to move to or settle in Jackson County and that those who were already there must pledge to leave in a reasonable time. The document also called for the immediate cessation of the Church newspaper. The leaders of the Church, upon receiving the demands, asked for three months to consider the proposition and consult with Church leaders in Ohio. This request was denied, and they pleaded for ten days. This was also denied, and the Saints were given fifteen minutes to look over and agree to the resolution.
The mobs rejoiced as they saw the Mormons driven north to Clay County out of their midst. Lyman Wight recorded, "I saw one hundred and ninety women and children driven thirty miles across the prairie . . . the ground thinly crusted with sleet; and I could easily follow on their trail by the blood that flowed from their lacerated feet on the stubble of the burnt prairie!" 8 Emily Austin wrote: "We lived in tents until winter set in, and did our cooking out in the wind and storms. Log heaps were our parlor stoves, and the cold, wet ground our velvet carpets, and the crying of little children our piano forte." 9 As the Saints lay on the banks of the mighty Missouri River, they mourned: "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion." (Psalm 137:1.)
From Jackson County, the Latter-day Saints were pushed on to Caldwell County, which in 1836 was a wilderness. By the spring of 1838 the population was more than 5,000 of which more than 4,900 were Latter-day Saints with the greater concentration at Far West.
Having lost their temple at Kirtland, the Latter-day Saints looked to build a temple in Far West and, under the Lord's command, cornerstones were laid July 4, 1838, with great fanfare, and the walls of the temple began to climb.
This temple in Far West was not to be at this time--and this temple-building people were forced, yet again, to find a new home when Governor Boggs issued an extermination order.
It is in this context of yearning for a temple that never was in western Missouri that the full meaning of the importance of this new Kansas City Missouri temple can be understood. Not only does western Missouri now have a temple, but Missouri’s citizens have flocked to see the temple, treating Latter-day Saints and what is sacred to them with respect.
The olive branch etched into the window pane shines in the light as all peace offerings always do.
But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice (Psalm 68:3).
If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help (2 Chronicles 20:9).
The temple grounds are always a place of beauty where the grounds are meticulously groomed and cared for.
"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning" (Psalms 30:5).
"This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it" (Psalms 118:24).
"For the beauty of each hour/ Of the day and of the night,/ Hill and vale and tree and flow'r, Sun and moon and stars of light/ Lord of all, to thee we raise/ This our hymn of grateful praise.
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me" (Rev. 3:20).
"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you" (John 14:27).
"Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life" (John 4:14).
Everything about the temple draws us nearer to God.
He has always had Missouri in his hands.